How do we effectively and optimally manage time? Our sages emphasize that both Avraham and Sarah led full lives: “And the life of Sarah was 100 years and 20 years and seven years.”
The commentators stress that this verse’s emphasis on “years” is an indication that Sarah fully lived every one of them. “And Avraham was old, advanced in days” – that is, Avraham would arrive in the next world with each day of his life perfectly intact since each day had been filled with holy, beneficial activity.
This is how Rav Yerucham Levovitz of Mir explains it:
As is known, three angels came to the tent of Avraham and Sarah. One came to inform Sarah about the birth of Yitzchak, one to overturn the city of Sodom, and one to heal Avraham after his brit milah. And Rashi comments: “No angel takes on two missions.”
Each angel has only one mission for which that angel is uniquely qualified and upon which that angel is completely focused. And that should be our guiding principle, to liken ourselves to angels and completely focus on what we are doing at any given moment.
And so with each and every action, Rav Yerucham continues. A person needs to be completely there, exactly like an angel. If now is a moment that demands kindness and generosity, we need to be completely preoccupied with that. If now is a moment meant to study Torah, we need to be completely preoccupied with that.
“No angel takes on two missions.” We need to resist the confusion that comes with taking on many tasks at once. That’s how Avraham and Sarah – exemplars of time management – lived and we should be inspired by them to live that way, too.
- Translation by Yehoshua Siskin